Sunday, March 23, 2014

Outside in the Cold: 7 reasons to baptize infants (yes a ranting about children's ministry)

You ever watch TV and see those Humane Society commercials.  They call you to adopt a pet before it gets euthanized and to incorporate it into your own home.  Usually Sarah McLachlan sings in the background.  Don't worry, I hate euthanasia.  I think it's horrible that pets get taken off the streets only to put them to death.  Why don't people simply let them be free and let them live in our cities with us?  Money?  It always comes down to money.

But anyway, I get even more angry that innocent human children are murdered in their wombs for the crime of being conceived at the wrong time.  Children in other countries grow up in baby cribs and are chronologically 10 years old but look like infants.  Why won't people take more time to give them more attention?  I know I'm guilty, too.  I haven't adopted any kids.  Even if I did, I can't really afford it.  If I got pregnant, I'd happily await a child nine months later, but still, how would I feed him or her?

[Just so you know, this post is inspired by church today.  I love that church dearly, but I greatly think the children need to be taken more seriously.  So here goes:] And then, I go to church and see a spoof of the Humane Society commercial in order to call for volunteers to serve in the children's ministry.  I admit, it was kind of funny, but it was tragic, too.  First, children are equated with pets.  Second, they are in the church but we never see them and they aren't actually considered in the church.  Third, the church won't baptize the infants and recognize them as members of the church because of no professing faith, but kids are growing up outside of Christ's visible family and being influenced by worldly influences because their parents see them as second-class somehow.  I know these arguments are rather ad hominem and kind of unfair, but think about it.  If our babies are denied baptism, then they are cut off from God's visible community and will be raised as if they are cut off from the invisible one as well.

So, in order to cause much controversy, I'll give some reasons you need to baptize your infants.

1. What if he grows up to be my autistic brother who will never knowingly consent to the faith simply because he cannot?  Should he be cut off from the visible church because of his disability?

2. What if a parent is afraid to lead a child to Christ when he is three because she clings to the idea that he's not to the age of accountability yet?  You know, the age of accountability that is nowhere in the Bible.  That will open a can of worms for another day.

3. Would you raise your infant boy or girl on the front porch until he or she was old enough to recognize mom and dad as the parents?  No, you take that child in and raise him until he grows up and either rebels or not. 

4. If he does rebel and returns, then does he have to re-enter his family by some ritual?  No, the family recognizes him as family even if he is prodigal.

5. Do all consenting adults who get baptized have a clue what they are doing?  I'm certain a vast majority of them don't based on the people who call themselves Christians but never read their Bibles or repent of their sins.

6.  Isn't God the only one who can decide who is in and out of the church?  Yes, whether we like it or not.  He's the one who led wicked king Manasseh and the Son of Sam to repentance.  He leads Muslims and atheists to his fold.  And godly leaders get into scandals and fall.  Just ask David and Solomon.

7.  Seriously, if you raise a girl to believe that she must get baptized to complete her Christian conversion, then you've raised her to believe in one more thing she has to do to be saved in her own power when you should be preaching that if she is saved, then Christ did everything for her.  If that is the case, then baptism is a visible sign that should be applied to her from out of the womb.

I can't think of any more reasons right now but I'm sure they will come.  The bottom line: honestly, when you have a baby, whether you baptize him or not, do include him as part of the visible church community.  Consider him a part of the Church until by his lifestyle he proves not to be.  And even then, continue to pray for him.  And if you do baby dedications, keep in mind you are doing the same thing we paedo-baptists do.  Just add water and consider the boy or girl in the family.  Not outside in the cold.

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